Summers are hot in Los Angeles and 1993 was no exception. That summer, two intrepid Starbucks employees campaigned for the creation of a blended coffee beverage – not unlike blended beverages that they had seen at other, local coffee shops – to be added to Starbucks’ menu. One store in Sherman Oaks started doing a test to see how customers might respond to a blended beverage. The test gathered steam and by 1994, you could buy blended coffee drinks at all of the 10 Starbucks stores in Southern California. The drink also got a name: the Frappuccino. The national launch of the Frappuccino was in 1995 and the rest is history, as the blended drinks became an icon for the coffee chain, winning over not only people looking for a cold beverage on a hot day, but people who weren’t even coffee drinkers in the first place.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the nationwide launch of the Frappuccino and from March 26th through March 30th, you can buy a limited edition Birthday Cake Frappucino at your local Starbucks store. The birthday creation is flavored with vanilla and hazelnut and topped with a pink, raspberry whipped cream. You’ll have to provide your own candle, as it’s not included with purchase.
I have always enjoyed spending time in coffee shops, whether I’m visiting with friends, reading or doing a little work on my computer. Part of the reason I enjoy them is because being ni a coffee shop gives me very easy access to coffee. The other reason - and this might be because I spend so much time in coffee shops in the first place – is that I enjoy the general sounds of being in a coffee shop. It’s a mixture of people talking, milk steaming, espresso shots being pulled and coffee beans being ground. And it is a blend of sounds that I find very, very pleasant. There are plenty of times when I wish I were in a coffee shop instead of in an office next to any annoying coworking, or in my home office while my laundry is thumping around in the dryer, and lately I’ve been bringing coffee shop sounds into my home office to change the mood a bit and give me some familiar “white noise” to work to.
If you like the bustling atmosphere of a coffee shop and don’t feel like trekking out to your favorite location – perhaps the weather is too awful outside or you just don’t feel like changing out of your pajamas – try playing the above video while you work. It’s got 1 hour of coffee shop sounds that you can play any time. It’s not the only one on YouTube, so you can search around for something that sounds even more like your local favorite shop, but it’s a great one to start out with and I find that one hour of relaxing coffee sounds are all I need to kick start my work day. That, and a cup of coffee.
As more people do their shopping online, brick and mortar retailers often feel the pinch. We usually picture clothing stores and toy stores, but this kind of shift in shopping behavior also affects other types of stores, including the food and drink vendors in malls and shopping centers. Starbucks is just one example of a store that has seen a dip in some in-store sales over past holiday seasons – after all, commuters may not be stopping in for their morning coffee drink, either! – but this year, they are introducing a promotion that just might turn that trend around. Starbucks will be giving away free drinks for life to 10 lucky customers who use their registered Starbucks card between December 2nd and Christmas. Winning the promotion would entitle you to a free drink of your choice (I assume that you could select a different one every day) every day for the next 30 years. They’ll also be giving away other prizes for participating consumers.
The odds may be slim, but that is a pretty tempting prize for a coffee (or tea, especially since they’re incorporating more Tevana products) lover this holiday season. I’ll most likely be stopping by anyway, but it is a good excuse to get out of the house for a bit after doing the rest of your holiday shopping online.
The biggest problem with Frappuccinos – those delicious ice blended drinks from Starbucks – is that people like to complain about them. Opponents of tasty frozen drinks constantly harp about what calorie bombs they are, annoying the rest of us who want to drink our frozen treats without a guilt trip. It’s true that a super sized Frappuccino with whipped cream has a lot of calories, but so do a lot of other foods. If you don’t want a giant drink, simply order a smaller size. Starbucks is currently test marketing a mini Frappuccino, for those who want the option to order the smallest possible drink.
The new Frappuccinos are currently being tested in Houston and Denver, after a smaller test in San Diego earlier this year. They are 10-ounces – 2 ounces smaller than the current Tall option – and come in a mini cup with their own mini lid. They give customers a slightly less expensive way to taste a new Frappuccino flavor, as well as a slightly lower calorie option than a full size drink.